EU critical of DTP failure on PKK warns Turkey over ban

The verdict, threatens to undermine Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party's drive to reconcile Kurds with the state and end decades of conflict.

EU critical of DTP failure on PKK warns Turkey over ban

The European Commission warned on Monday that a ban by Turkey's Constitutional Court on the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) could deprive a substantial portion of Turkish voters from representation.

While critical of the party's failure to separate itself from the PKK, a militant group, the Commission said providing political representation to citizens was essential to Turkey fulfilling its democratic mandate.

"The Commission regrets that the DTP has continuously refused to clearly distance itself from the PKK and to condemn terrorism," Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a spokesman for the European Union's executive Commission, told a news conference.

"On the other hand, the decision of the Constitutional Court might deprive a significant segment of Turkish voters from political representation, a necessary condition for the successful outcome of the democratic opening," he said.

The court ruled on Friday in favour of banning the DTP after it found it guilty of links to PKK militants.

The verdict, threatens to undermine Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party's drive to reconcile Kurds with the state and end decades of conflict.

The DTP is the only Kurdish party represented in Turkey's parliament.

The European Union's Swedish presidency expressed concern on Friday over the court decision and said it would continue to monitor further developments closely.

"While strongly denouncing violence and terrorism, the presidency recalls that the dissolution of political parties is an exceptional measure that should be used with utmost restraint," the presidency said in a statement.

PKK militants on Thursday claimed responsibility for the killing of seven Turkish soldiers in an ambush in northern Turkey this week.

The government's planned pro-Kurdish reforms include the creation of an independent body to investigate cases of torture by security forces in the southeast as well as further loosen restrictions on the Kurdish language.

Analysts fear the ban on DTP would strengthen the hand of the militant PKK by undermining confidence in the democratic process and the government's current reform initiative.



Agencies

Last Mod: 14 Aralık 2009, 17:35
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